by Tom Kelly
was traffic jams, rest stops, diner eggs splashed with Tabasco sauce, was hitchhikers’ thumbs & deer skulls & Mom playing I Spy a cactus, was heat lightning, ostrich farms, donuts stolen by prairie dogs, drive-ins & billboards & dicks drawn on road maps & bikers fucking in a cop car, Dad determined like a pilot who believes in God & flight, was sunrise, was sunny farts, a sea of sunflowers losing its charm, a pin-up that dwarfs dinosaurs combing the doves from her curls, her big toe wide as a wishing well surrounded by bald men groveling, was an escalator lift up her pageant chair, the buck-a-minute tour of her birthmarks, Dad asking about the clockwork underneath her billowing skirt, was a hot air balloon ride around her jawline & a picnic lunch in her lap & a grandma who climbed the cleavage to search for a missing husband, was pilgrimage, was sideshow & golden vistas that rolled forever & four generations of women falling into the crease of her thigh, was her laugh, like thunder, & thunder mistaken for her laugh & posing for a last family photo, her giant candy-striped parasol opening to shield us all from the rain.
Tom Kelly is a Creative Writing doctoral student at Florida State University. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Passages North, LIT, Barrelhouse, Hobart, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @tomvkelly